Audit Notes: A Triple-B Chairman for a Triple-B Company, Stadium Welfare, Euro Crisis

New York Daily News publisher and Boston Properties Chairman Mort Zuckerman takes to the op-ed pages of The Wall Street Journal today and unloads this gem:

Obama and the ‘Competency Crisis’

Like many Americans who supported him, I long for a triple-A president to run a triple-A country.

Boston Properties’ credit rating?


Maybe that’s why the Journal identifies him solely as “chairman and editor in chief of U.S. News & World Report.”

The Nation takes a look at the ongoing scam that is pro sports teams getting taxpayer money to build stadiums and therefore subsidize outlandish salaries and team profits.

It’s an old story, sure, but one that unfortunately keeps on happening over and over again. I had no idea, for instance, that the St. Louis Rams are trying to get taxpayers to pony up for a new stadium. They just opened their last dome in 1995. And the Atlanta Falcons are trying to get corporate welfare to replace the Georgia Dome, which opened in 1992.

Despite recession-strapped state budgets and the fact that most teams occupy homes that are less than twenty years old, there appears to be no end in sight to the stadium-subsidy game. Teams that have recently received new stadiums have begun to go around to the back of the line for still newer ones. Latest on the list are the Atlanta Falcons (housed in the Georgia Dome, built in 1992 for $214 million in state money) and the St. Louis Rams (in the Edward Jones Dome, opened in 1995 for $280 million). The Rams are threatening to use Shaw’s “state-of-the-art” clause to move if they don’t get their way.

And this is interesting, however unlikely (emphasis):

For Baade, the only answer is for local elected officials to start standing up and saying no to all demands for sports subsidies. “I think cities need to band together and say, Look, we’ve got some countervailing power, we’re simply not going to compete with one another for a professional sports presence.” (A bill briefly proposed by US Representative David Minge in the late 1990s would have forced localities to end the “economic war among the states,” as a Minneapolis Federal Reserve vice president called it, by slapping an excise tax on any subsidies designed to benefit individual corporations; the legislation died without a whimper.) “If they do that, then pro sports leagues that hold the ultimate negotiating card—‘We’re going to leave if you don’t give us what we want’—will have no place to go.”

Remember that some people actually think this race to the bottom is a good thing.

— Watch the Financial Times’s Gillian Tett explain why the European crisis is only going to get worse:

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum. Tags: , , , ,